Engagement Rings FAQ

If the information you need is not included on our FAQ page, please try the search function on the site. You may also like to request information directly, so feel free to Ask Ellissi.

I’ve heard of the 4 c’s so selecting a diamond is easy, isn’t it?

No, is the short answer. This is a very faq but in fact things are way more complicated. A diamond’s carat weight is something that is easily determined and verified. However, understanding the principles of colour, clarity and cut in diamonds is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to determining whether a particular diamond is a good example or a poor example of the grade it has been given. You can read more on this in a page we have written that shows some of the dodgy diamonds that are sold by some operators in the market place.

Is The Diamond Independently Certified?

The first FAQ to ask is: Who is telling you what cut, colour and clarity the diamond is? Is the diamond independently certified and if so, by whom?

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is considered the industry standard for certifying diamonds. Other labs use the same terminology as the GIA, but their standards are often different to the GIA. A  grading report from a secondary lab may differ up to three levels from that of a GIA assessment. This is an assessment by both labs on the same diamond. The trouble with this is that consumers may believe that they are purchasing a diamond that has a high grade, because of the lower standards of the secondary lab.

This is just one of the many issues when it comes to understanding the 4 C’s. Even at the GIA some issues arise from time to time in some grades, mainly because at present the SI1 – I1 levels have a very, very broad and wide ranging level of acceptance of some inclusions. Many of us in the industry feel that there should be a third level added to the SI category, so that there is SI1, SI2 and SI3. The GIA has so far resisted this option.

At present the GIA is the biggest and best lab in a position to handle the volume of certification required by the diamond industry. It is the best we have. However, even with GIA certification, professional judgment and advice is still absolutely necessary when choosing a diamond.

Two diamonds have been given the same grade by the GIA. Why aren’t they the same price?

This is an area that often causes considerable confusion. Even though two diamonds have the same grade given by the same grading lab, no two diamonds are exactly the same.

A Diamond Might Have Only Just Scraped Into a Particular Grade Level

Where there are price differences, it is usually because a diamond may have just scraped into a particular grade level – say SI1. This could be on the borderline of being the next level down the scale – SI2. This diamond should be much cheaper than a diamond that is a very good “high” SI1. The good SI1 could be a borderline VS2 (the next level up).

As referred to previously, the range of diamonds that could be assessed to be in the VS2 -SI1-SI2 and I1 is very very vast and wide ranging. This is why big differences in costs occur within the same grade level. Additionally, a diamond’s clarity is graded by what can be seen from the top. This means that issues underneath and on the side of the diamond do not always change the grade it is given, but can have a substantial effect on the way the diamond looks. Issues around the girdle are particularly easy to miss if you have no professional contact working on the diamond selection.

To get the best diamond, you really need expert advice. Comparing oranges with oranges and apples with apples is very difficult for the general public who do not have, as we do, the experience of looking at thousands and thousands of diamonds over the years.

Many Factors Affect Price: Certification Only Covers Some of the Issues

It is for this reason that we choose not to take in work using diamonds supplied by clients, it is of course a FAQ. However apart from the 4C’s, there are many, many other factors that affect the sparkle, lustre and brilliance and therefore price of any particular diamond. These are not even included in the 4C’s grading system, as their inclusion would just make the certification process very expensive and far too unwieldy.

Are all diamonds certified?

This is very common FAQ. No, not all diamonds are certified. Certification by a reputable lab such as the GIA provides you, the consumer, with independent verification that the diamond you are purchasing is the grade claimed by the seller.

All diamonds above 0.50 ct sold by Ellissi are GIA certified diamonds. For diamonds between 0.15 ct and 0.49 ct it maybe optional to have a diamond with GIA certification. Below 0.15 ct the GIA does not issue diamond grading reports. It may do so in the future, although for the small sizes it is not cost effective, as the fee to produce the certification could amount to a cost greater than the value of diamond being certified.

We have all the rings we make independently valued by a member of the National Council of Jewellery Valuers (NCJV).  This valuation confirms the grades of any of the smaller diamonds supplied by us that do not have their own specific documentation.

What Does a GIA Certificate Look Like?

Please see below for an example of what GIA certificates look like. The first certificate is a full certificate. It is called a “GIA Diamond Grading Report”. Diamonds that are over 1.00ct. receive a full certificate. Under the full report, is a “GIA Diamond Dossier”. Diamonds that are under 1.00ct. have a dossier rather than a full certificate.

The difference between the reports is that the full report has a plotting diagram of the inclusions within the diamond. This plotting diagram is not necessarily a comprehensive plotting of all the inclusions. Nor is it representative of the exact cut of the diamond. Both documents show “laser inscription registry” indicating both diamonds are laser inscribed.

Diamond grading report from the Gemological Institute of America ( GIA ) Showing the diamonds weights, measures and details of the GIA assessment of the specific diamonds grade level for colour and clarity, also showing the diamonds plotting for "inclusion" pattern and that the diamond is laser inscribed.
Full GIA Diamond grading report

The Gemological Institute of America ( GIA ) current standard diamond "Grading Report" . This is full certiifcate for diamonds of 1.00 ct weight and over, showing diamond details and plotting diagram
GIA “Dossier” type certification

What is diamond laser inscription?

Laser inscription is where a diamond has had the certification number etched by laser on to the edge of the diamond, at its girdle. This is usually done at the time of certification and is an option that is decided upon by the cutter or dealer of the diamond at the time it is submitted to the grading lab.

FAQ Ellissi Laser Inscription by Gemological Institute of America ( GIA ) on a Round Brilliant Cut diamond girdle ( Faceted edge ), showing the GIA logo and diamond specific reference number. This number coresponds to the diamond certificate and should be identical.
GIA Laser Inscribed diamond

It is possible to have a diamond laser inscribed after the certification process. We simply submit the diamond to a competent lab with the necessary equipment. It is also possible to have more than just the diamond’s certification number inscribed, as long as enough space is available. In theory, you could have any details you like. Some might like their name, the engagement date or ” My other diamond is a 10 ct.”!! Really it is up to you. But be warned – it is not possible to add a laser inscription to a diamond once the diamond has been set into an engagement ring. This requires removing the diamond from the ring mount, which could, depending on the design, require a remake of the ring.

Are all diamonds laser inscribed?

The answer to this FAQ is no: not all diamonds are laser inscribed. Many diamond cutters (but not all) will have the diamond’s certification number inscribed on the diamond at the time of having the diamond certified. It is optional and adds around $50.00 to the cost of the diamond certification process. At present diamonds less that 0.15 ct. in weight are not certified by the GIA so these sizes are not generally laser inscribed. They may offer this service in the future, however it adds to the expense of the process.

Another FAQ is can I have all the diamonds in my engagement ring independently certified? You can, but it would add a lot of cost to the ring. Having an engagement ring with say 20 or 30 diamonds set into the band and having all diamonds certified and laser inscribed would cost an additional $100 – $150 per diamond. This would give you an engagement ring with an additional price tag of many thousands just for the paperwork. As a result, we rely on registered valuers to provide an independent assessment of the diamond grade for the small diamonds in a engagement ring.

How much is a diamond engagement ring?

Surprisingly this is a common FAQ that is easy to ask but not so easy to answer. Diamond rings vary massively in both diamond content and diamond quality. There is no set cost that fits every engagement ring or every person’s budget of course.

There is not even one fixed cost associated with a single design. Take for example the rings on our site. They can be quoted “as shown”. Or we can quote on the same design and in the same diamond weight, but in different grade levels. This will give rise to a range of costs. We can also make differing versions of the same design to smaller or larger scale. So you can see that there are many price possibilities on each engagement ring. Simply altering one area like the diamond’s colour grade can change the cost of the engagement ring substantially. Having this flexibility is one of the great things about having your ring custom made.

We Can Tailor the Diamond Selection for Your Engagement Ring to Suit Your Budget

This is the reason the engagement rings you see on this site are not all listed with firm buy prices. In fact, as the diamond rings shown on the Ellissi site are all engagement rings we have made and supplied to clients (actual rings now on client’s fingers), the cost was specific to that client at that time. The cost depended on the prevailing diamond prices of the day. At Ellissi, we can of course quote on any engagement ring and diamond combination. However before doing so we need to first work out the most suitable grade and size diamonds for your available budget.

The first step in working out how much your engagement ring will cost, is to to contact us about the ring designs you like or the diamond shape that you are interested in. From there we can have a look at what is going to be possible for your available budget.

What is the best diamond grade?

Of course the best grade in diamonds is the highest grade that can be given. However, the highest grades come at a cost. Most people, (even Bill Gates) will have a budget they prefer to work within. Sound, expert advice is crucial, so that a good balance between quality and size can be achieved without compromising on the brilliance and sparkle of the diamond.

This link will give you information regarding the the 4 C’s. Of course, there is a lot more to great diamond selection than simply the 4C’s. Have a look under the “Diamond Education” section of the main menu for more info. Further information can be found in this link:recommended diamond grades. Our site has a lot of information on it regarding diamond grades and how to choose a great diamond, but there is only so much we can cover on the website, so it is always best to contact us whether it be via email or phone or by making an appointment to come and see us in person, so we can really show in greater detail what we do to choose the very best diamond we can for your budget.

It is an important decision, involving a lot of money, as well as the symbolic significance the diamond has in your relationship.

Oh and by the way, I am still awaiting Bill’s call.

What is the best diamond shape?

Now this particular FAQ depends greatly on where you sit on the two issues of best technical cut or the best shape for the ring design. It can be a difficult decision to balance, because you must decide, is the most important thing the refraction of the diamond, or is the ring design shape the thing you are most interested in?

The Round Brilliant Cut Diamond

The best diamond shape for sparkle and refraction is the Round Brilliant cut diamond. However, this is just the best from the scientific point of view and the shape of the diamond will limit the design of the ring. Any shape diamond, if it is well proportioned, and of good quality, will in most cases, still look great. All diamond cuts that are not the Round Brilliant are to some extent a compromise from “Excellent cut”. However a round diamond may well be considered a compromise if the shape you actually like is a pear shape or cushion cut.

The best diamond shape is the one you like the best really… Making sure you have a really nice, well cut example of its kind gives the diamond the best chance to perform well and look great on your hand.

After all, if the diamond you select for your engagement ring is not a good example of its type, you cannot expect the engagement ring to look its best and sparkle. You really need to give it everything it needs… What it needs is a well cut quality diamond !

Blood diamonds where do they come from?

Blood diamonds are diamonds that originate in countries that are judged to be in a state of conflict and the money generated from the sale of diamonds is being used to fund this conflict.

Countries that are judged to be “in conflict” by the United Nations are excluded from selling unpolished diamonds to the main diamond industry. A system of verification of origin is in place with countries abiding by a number of checks and balances to maintain a clean supply of diamonds. This system of verification is called the Kimberley Process.

The Kimberley Process

Signatories to the Kimberley process agree not to trade in diamonds that originate from these areas, all importation and exportation of uncut diamonds must be accompanied by the correct documentation and verification of origin.

Australia is a signatory to this agreement, as is the USA and many other countries.

Jewellery trade organisations also agree to not knowingly deal in any diamonds sourced from countries that do not comply to and are signatories of this process.

You can read more on this subject on our specific page “Conflict Free”

Can I supply my own diamond for mounting?

A FAQ that raises a few very important points.

People who can see the quality of our work often approach us to have their engagement ring made but think they can get a better deal by supplying their own diamond. It is true that you certainly can buy a cheap diamond with the same grade level as one we would supply. If we chose to, we could also supply the lowest cost diamond in the market.

However, we would never supply the lowest cost diamond as the reason such a diamond is cheap is that there are issues with it. It would not be a diamond that we would be happy or willing to supply. Visit the beware dodgy diamonds page to see some photographs of examples of the dodgy diamonds we have rejected over the years.

One of the main reasons our engagement rings look so good, is that we supply great diamonds. No amount of expert craftsmanship can make a poor looking diamond better than it is. As we deal directly with diamond cutters in the international market, and are ourselves manufacturing jewellers operating from our studio workshop here in Melbourne, our prices are great too!

1) Making diamond engagement rings is a complex job.

Ring making requires enormous skill and great attention to detail. When a person buys a loose diamond, the decisions on the correct parameters for the ring design have been taken out of our hands. If the diamond is a poor shape or cut then this will have an adverse effect on the look of the final ring. For example, if a fancy shaped diamond (anything that is not a round brilliant cut diamond) has been poorly cut, and the faceting of the diamond is not symmetrical, the ring will always look crooked, even though the ring is perfectly straight.

2) Paying for any damage.

Setting rings with diamonds is not done without risk of damage to the diamond. Setting a diamond ring requires applying a great deal of pressure to the diamond. If we are supplying the diamond, then we take on the risk of damage occurring to the diamond. If there is a problem, then we replace the diamond with one of equal or better quality than the original. We have insurance to cover this.

There is a far greater risk of damage if the diamond is in some way deficient either in cut, shape or a bad choice in the clarity. A square shaped diamond with faults in the corners is particularly vulnerable to damage when it is being set. A whole corner of the diamond can be broken off. Making the ring mount only, as a service, does not give us any margin to take on this risk.

3) Risks in diamond selection.

It is easy to become an armchair “expert” by reading the information (and misinformation) over the internet. The problem is that many people buy with price as the main driving force. This is fine if you are buying exactly the same product such as a particular brand and model of TV and you are comparing the price of the TV between retailers. Diamonds are not like TV’s! Every diamond is different, and their price reflects these differences.  There are many, many pitfalls in buying on price alone. Understanding the way the industry prices diamonds requires years of training and experience.

4)Variation Within Grades

So, for example, even though two diamonds have the same grade given by the same grading lab, no two diamonds are exactly the same. Where there are price differences, it is often because a diamond may have just scraped into a particular grade level – say SI1. This could be on the borderline of being the next level down the scale – SI2. This diamond should be much cheaper than a diamond that is a very good “high” SI1. The good SI1 could be a borderline VS2 (the next level up), and will be priced accordingly.

The range of diamonds that could be assessed to be in the VS2 -SI1-SI2 and I1 is very very vast and wide ranging. This is why big differences in costs occur within the same grade level. Additionally, a diamond’s clarity is graded by what can be seen from the top. This means that issues underneath and on the side of the diamond do not always change the grade it is given, but can have a substantial effect on the way the diamond looks. Issues around the girdle are particularly easy to miss if you have no professional contact working on the diamond selection.

5) Incorrect diamond grading and the risk to our business and reputation.

I’ve saved this bit until last, as it is one of the most important issues. Just because a diamond has been bought as a graded diamond – take for example, F colour and SI1 clarity, does not mean that is so. The grading given to any particular diamond is, at the end of the day, someone’s opinion.

Although all the labs use the same terminology, grading standards between laboratories vary. This means that the same diamond could be given two completely different grades if it were submitted to a couple of different labs for grading.

This difference can often be between two and three grade levels. If such a diamond is worked on by a reputable jeweller and then re assessed at a later date and found to be not as high a grade as the client had originally thought, it becomes a real problem.

This is because, through no fault of their own, the last person to have worked on the engagement ring (the jeweler) gets the blame for any subsequent discrepancy in the assessment of the diamond, even though it is nothing to do with the jeweller at all, it is just that the opinion of the first person who graded the diamond may not have been accurate.

Our Reputation

Therefore, using a diamond supplied by a client exposes us to a risk we simply will not take. Our business reputation has been built up over many, many years of good service and supplying great products to our clients. Our great reputation is too valuable to us to be marred by any issue of this kind.

When we make an engagement ring we want it to be a great looking ring. We want it to be the best you can have for your budget. With no control over the diamond selection, we are not in a position to be able to guarantee this.

Click here for more information about diamond grading issues.